Title

African-American Students' Perceptions of Teacher Attitudes On Academic Achievement and Discipline Sanctions

Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Wanda Maulding

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The manifestation of both the achievement and discipline gaps in the African-American communities in the United States emphasizes the need for investigation of factors which contribute to the ever-emerging problem. This study revealed that the impact of African-American students' perceptions of teacher attitudes does indeed play a role in the successes of schooling. This study of a 10th grade sample of the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) yielded analysis through multiple linear regressions and correlations. The study was designed to determine: (1) if African-Americans students' perceptions of teachers' attitudes significantly predict academic performance and discipline; (1a) the correlation between students' perceptions of teacher attitudes and discipline sanctions; (1b) the correlation between students' perceptions of teacher attitudes and academic achievement; (1c) the relationship between students' perceptions and socioeconomic status; and (1d) the relationship between students' perceptions and gender. This limited results study indicated that students' perceptions are indeed a factor in academic achievement and discipline sanctions. The results of the multiple linear regression on perceptions and discipline sanctions indicated that students' relationships with teachers, students' feelings regarding teacher sensitivity, and the reasons for attendance are significant. The strongest predictor of student discipline was linked to teacher sensitivity. These same predictors were significant in perceptions and academic achievement. The strongest predictor was a negative indicator and inferred a correlation between the reasons students attend school and academic achievements. Overall, the researcher found that students in the lowest SES quartile did not attend school because of their teachers' expectation of success. Gender was identified as significantly related to how well students got along with teachers and feelings of humiliation in class. These findings can be of assistance to teachers as they realize the impact of their actions, both intentional and unintentional, in the classroom on the students' success. Studying the perceptions of students in the classroom can assist teachers in understanding the impact that they have on students' success and the importance of favorable relationships for better classroom dynamics.